Nitrogen Pollution

The current level of nitrogen fertiliser over use cannot continue.

  • Nitrate Polluted Water - 10 million people in Europe are potentially exposed to drinking water with nitrate concentrations above recommended levels
  • Nitrate Polluted Air - Contributes to particulate matter air pollution, which is reducing life expectancy by several months across much of central Europe
  • Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition - Caused at least 10% loss of forestry plant diversity over two‐thirds of Europe
  • Soil Nutrient Depletion - Loss of arable land is major global problem
  • Ozone Depletion - UK agriculture (primarily fertiliser use) accounts for around 66% of all nitrous oxide emissions, which is a potent greenhouse gas
  • Dead Zones - Nitrates cause toxic algal blooms and dead zones in the sea and rivers.  400 separate dead zones worldwide covering 245,000 square kilometres, an area the same size as the UK.Global dead zone total now covers more than 245,000 square kilometres, an area the same size as the UK

The annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen pollution across Europe is £60 ‐ £280 billion; it  costs each person around £130 ‐ £650 a year. (The European Nitrogen Assessment – INRA Research April 2011).